The economic value of higher education

By Marie-Hélene Doumet
Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Photo credit: Vasily Koloda/Unsplash
Tertiary education has seen spectacular growth since the beginning of the 21st century: on average across OECD countries, 43% of 25-34 year-olds had a tertiary degree in 2016, compared to 26% in 2000. In Canada and Korea, more than 60% of young adults now hold this level of qualification. This marked increase has largely been fueled by the promise of favourable job prospects: better employment opportunities, career progression, and higher earnings have led many to believe that higher education is the best road for a brighter future. But as the number of tertiary graduates increases each year, is having a degree still a competitive advantage?

This month’s Education Indicators in Focus brief investigates the earnings advantage that tertiary-educated workers have over their upper-secondary peers, and how earnings advantage has evolved over generations. On average across OEC…

What World Cup fever (and sports in general) can do for students’ well-being

By Judit Pál
Statistician, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Photo credit: Markus Spiske/Unsplash
Cheering for our favourite teams during the World Cup may help create a sense of community and encourage children to be more involved in sports. But when the tournament is over, will kids still be inspired to kick around a football or run around a field? Let’s hope so, because there is wide-ranging, cross-country evidence that more physically active students feel better.

This month’s PISA in Focus discusses how students’ participation in sports activities is related to several aspects of student well-being and academic performance. The analysis, based on data from 54 countries, finds that about 89% of 15-year-old students engage in moderate physical activity outside of school at least once a week – that is, activity that raises students’ heart rate and causes them to sweat (such as walking, climbing stairs, riding a bike to school) for at least 60 minutes per day. But only 52% of st…

Students need good career guidance, and here’s how schools can give it

By Pauline Musset
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Choosing anything is hard, especially when your decision might have long-term consequences for your life. A new OECD research paper looks at career decisions and career guidance. Based on 2015 PISA data, it shows that most 15-year-olds already have career plans: only around 15% of them have not decided what they want to do. But the data show that today’s teenagers aren’t very imaginative when it comes to their expected working life. Almost one in ten wants to be a medical doctor; one in three cited one of just ten jobs.

The ways in which young people think about jobs and careers, the study shows, are highly shaped by parental influence, social background and sense of identity. The paper highlights new analysis which shows, for example, that disadvantaged students are significantly less likely to want to work as professionals than their more advantaged peers – even after statistical controls are put in place for academic ab…

Preparing for tomorrow’s digital skills today: learning in and for the digital world

By Andreas Schleicher
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

In today’s world, technology is advancing faster than ever before. Developments in robotics and artificial intelligence have made particularly significant strides in recent years, and have begun to dramatically change the way people work, learn and communicate.

It is against this backdrop that the OECD and the government of Portugal jointly organised the Second Skills Summit on Skills for a Digital World. This event, held in Porto, Portugal on 28-29 June 2018, provided an opportunity for Ministers and other high-level officials from more than 20 countries to discuss the key challenges and opportunities that have emerged from digital transformation.

The Summit opened with remarks from OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría and Minister of Education Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, followed by three sessions that combined recent OECD evidence on digitalisation and skills with frank discussions about how skills policy can re…

Why we should care more about who our future teachers will be

By Noémie Le Donné
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Image credit: Education and Employers, "Drawing the Future"
“What would you like to be when you grow up?” is not only an adult’s favourite icebreaker when speaking with children – it's also a key consideration for policy makers who truly care about students’ futures. This is especially true when the answer to the question is: “I want to be a teacher.”

Faced with teacher shortages, recruitment challenges, and concerns about the social standing of the teaching profession, policy makers need to design strategies to attract more, better-qualified candidates to the teaching profession. But before doing that, they need to know who tomorrow’s teachers might be.

In 2015, the PISA survey asked 15-year-old students the following forward-looking question: “What kind of job do you expect to have when you are about 30 years old?” Our new report, Effective Teacher Policies: Insights from PISA, reveals some enlightening fin…

How can technology support teaching and learning more effectively?

By Marc Fuster Rabella
Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills

Photo credit: John Schnobrich/Unsplash
When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, it marked one of the most revolutionary technological developments in human history. Gutenberg’s invention allowed for the universalisation of knowledge and the rapid spread of new ideas. However, whenever an artefact serves to disseminate both good and bad ideas alike, it cannot be considered an absolute benefit.

For better or worse, technology intervenes in most, if not all aspects of our lives. When it comes to the link between education and technology, there are at least two important considerations to make. How can schools and teachers help students improve the outcomes of their use of technology? What are the ways in which technology can support teaching and learning more effectively? We address these and related questions in our latest Trends Shaping Education Spotlight.

The first question revolves …

Improving learning spaces by empowering school users

By Andreas Schleicher
Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

During a trip to Finland in the middle of winter, I visited a school where all the students left their snow boots in the school lobby and walked around in their socks for the rest of the day. I had a similar experience in New Zealand, where barefoot students are a common sight in warmer months. In each case, the students clearly felt as comfortable in their schools as they would in their living rooms. While fundamental, we need to do more than just ensure the comfort and safety of students in schools. The bigger challenge is to foster an effective learning environment that supports students in building the portfolio of knowledge and skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century.

When visiting schools all over the world, I’ve witnessed many instances of students and teachers re-arranging their physical environment – both inside and outside school buildings – to suit their learning objectives and teaching practice…